Applying to medical school requires wise preparation

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Fall-Winter 2011 issue (pdf)

Are any of your children thinking of following in your footsteps as a physician? The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Admissions Office has some candid advice for medical school hopefuls.

With more than 6,700 applications submitted for 204 spaces in the M1 class, gaining admission to The Medical College of Wisconsin may feel like a daunting task. Director of Admissions Jennifer L. Haluzak, MEd, says there are several things an applicant can do to be competitive in the application process:

Hit the ground running. Students who wish to ultimately attend professional school cannot afford to earn mediocre undergraduate grades. Visit several undergraduate institutions and pick the one that feels right. It will be important to post a strong academic record from the start. Do not dig yourself into an academic hole from which you will not be able to recover.

Be strong academically. The average incoming MCW student has a 3.70 overall GPA and a 3.64 science and math GPA. Given that, the Admissions Committee considers a 3.50 to be the bottom of the competitive range. A solid academic record doesn’t guarantee admission, but it makes the road a lot smoother.

Take the MCAT at the right time and perform well. The average incoming MCW student has a 10 in each numeric subsection of the MCAT and a P in the writing sample. The bottom of the competitive range is a 9 in each numeric subsection and an M in the writing sample. It is not considered a negative to take the test multiple times. Sit for the MCAT exam after you have completed your science prerequisites, yet early enough in your college career so that you have time to retake it if necessary.

Timeline is important. The AMCAS application opens in May each year, with June being the earliest you can submit the information. Selection for interview spaces is based on both strength of application and completion date of your application. Aim to have your application completed, including MCAT scores, secondary application, letters of recommendation, etc., by Sept. 1. This will assure that you receive optimum consideration for interview spaces.

Behave yourself. There are many reasons why applications are denied. Do not make the Admissions Committee’s job easy by having criminal convictions, underage drinking citations or incidents of plagiarism. What may seem small to you may be the difference between acceptance and denial.

Be a leader… Take advantage of opportunities to participate in student activities and organizations. Serve in a leadership role if you can. It is not necessary to spend 40 hours a week in extracurricular activities, however; find a couple of activities/organizations you enjoy and become involved.

…and a follower. Shadow, shadow, shadow. The Admissions Committee wants you to demonstrate sufficient exposure to clinical medicine in the United States. This exposure can come through volunteering, shadowing or employment. There is no set number of hours you need to accumulate. Concentrate on finding quality experiences.

“Take ownership of the application process,” Haluzak said. “Educate yourself about prerequisite and letter of recommendation requirements. Prospective students are welcome to contact the Admissions Office and set up a visit prior to completing the application process. If you are the child of an alumnus, indicate it on your application. The ultimate responsibility for the completion of the application falls to the applicant.”

Contacting Admissions


Phone: (414) 955-8246

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Comments / Ratings

Advanced Biology Requirement
Omar Shahin
06-11-2015  1:01:31 AM


I noticed that you require an MCW-Central State requires an Advanced Biology requirement with lab. Does upper division Entomology classes (w/ lab) satisfy this requirement?

Thank you.

Job Shadowing Physicians
Sarah Bruening
04-17-2015  6:02:43 PM

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Sarah Bruening and I am a student at Alverno College who is interested in job shadowing physicians. If someone is available to give me more information on that I would be forever grateful. Thank you for your time.

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